A caddie override and a laser: Tom Kim’s mic’d up hole was everything you wanted
You could say CBS’ new segment to mic up players for one hole is off to a good start.
After Max Homa’s ruling at the Farmers and Keith Mitchell’s caddie backing his player off a shot, CBS handed a set of AirPods to spunky 20-year-old Tom Kim for the 13th hole Saturday at the WM Phoenix Open.
And the PGA Tour’s rising star did not disappoint.
Kim was in the midst of a flat round through his first 12 holes. He entered the third round at five under, five back of leader Scottie Scheffler, but had only mustered one bogey and 11 pars thus far.
He striped his tee shot down the par-5 and then plugged into the broadcast to speak with Jim Nantz and Trevor Immelman who immediately tried to make light of Kim’s play so far.
“We’re going to bring you a birdie,” Nantz said to greet the World No. 14. Neither Homa nor Mitchell made birdie during their mic’d up holes so perhaps Nantz was also rooting for the new bit.
Immelmann then started interviewing Kim about his place on the leaderboard as he walked down the fairway. Then analyst Ian Baker-Finch asked Kim about his caddie Joe Skovron and his experience at the course.
Skovron was the long-time caddie for Rickie Fowler, winning in Phoenix with his previous employer in 2019. Kim and Skovron linked up at the Presidents Cup last September and have already developed serious chemistry whenever mics catch their discussions.
“It’s kind of my first year on Tour, so to have someone like him with all the experience in major championships and all the courses I haven’t played and he’s seen it all, It takes all the pressure off the practice rounds,” Kim said. “It saves you a lot of shots per week. It’s special. I got lucky.”
The experience paid off with his second shot.
Kim removed the earbuds to hit his shot, but the mics stayed close as he sized up his second shot from 223 yards.
The pair talked through trying to fly the ball around 212 to 215 in the air. Kim grabbed a 4-iron from the bag, but Skovron immediately overrode his man.
“That’s too much,” Skovron said. “That’s landing like five to 10 [yards] on the green.”
Skovron said he only wanted the ball to land just a few yards short of the green and chase back to the hole.
“I was on mid-5 [iron] to almost hard 6, bud,” Skovron said. “A good 5 is landing on. There’s at least 10 yards of help there.”
The veteran looper successfully pleaded his case and the already two-time PGA Tour winner went back to the bag for the 5-iron.
“What are you going with number-wise?” Skovron asked.
“215, 220?” Kim said.
“It’s 217 front. I like landing it 212 to 215,” Skovron corrected.
“It is downwind, I think it’s a 205 shot,” Kim said.
“I would say 200 shot,” Skovron said as he stepped away. But Kim still wanted one more assurance.
“Short’s fine?” Kim asked.
“Short is fine,” Skovron replied with authority.
Kim stepped up to the ball and pured it.
The shot tracer was straight as an arrow before just falling a little right against the wind. The ball landed a couple of yards short of the green, just as Skovron and Kim talked about, rolled over the crest of the ridge in front of the pin and settled about five feet from the hole for eagle.
It was the closest approach shot on 13 all day.
Kim ended up getting a vicious lip out for the eagle try, but he tapped in for the first birdie for any of CBS’ guinea pigs for the new mic’d up segment.
The irony was all of this took place with Fowler, Skovron’s employer for more than a dozen years, having a front-row seat, playing alongside Kim and Jim Herman.
If there was any concern left about the potential of the interviews to distract the player, the first three examples are quickly dispelling it.